Since its surge in popularity in the U.S., yoga has often been associated more with sweaty gym workouts than its traditional goal of attaining inner peace. If you were to look for a yoga practice right now you could easily find hot yoga, power yoga, slow flow yoga, just to name a few.
But how do you choose a type of yoga, especially while trying to conceive?
The short answer is easy. Come and enjoy Restorative Yoga sessions, or participate in the Hatha Yoga classes that are part of the Domar Center’s Mind/Body programs! Kidding aside, choose the type of yoga that feels best for you, and if you are trying to conceive, go with a gentler form of yoga.
As the name might suggest, restorative yoga is an incredibly gentle, nurturing practice taught here most often one-on-one, and is suitable for anyone who needs help relaxing (which includes just about all of us!)
Hatha yoga is a system of postures, or Asanas, and breath awareness that derives from the millennia old Indian practice of yoga. In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, “Ha” means “sun” and “Tha” means “moon” — so the word “yoga” means a “yoking together”. On a literal level, Hatha Yoga is the “yoking together” of the sun (hot energy) and the moon (cool energy). What this means, practically, is that Hatha Yoga is all about achieving balance, not just on the yoga mat, but also in life. Being in a gentle yoga pose, even if that pose might seem externally to be nothing more than lying on the ground, can bring profound levels of relaxation and release. With our awareness on the breath in a posture, we have the possibility to leave behind, even momentarily, neurotic thought patterns that follow many of us through our waking lives.
The essence of yoga for me is comfort; comfort on a physical level, and a psychological level. So when I teach Asanas or gentle postures, I like to think of them as “Aah” san “Aahs” as they are a vehicle for helping us release the stresses of the day. Yoga fundamentally is about allowing oneself to let go.
But how do you let go especially if you’re immersed in the anxiety of trying to conceive?
The answer is simple: by following your breath and your body’s relationship with gravity. In other words, follow the breath as it flows in and out of you, and allow yourself to feel supported by the ground. By being aware of the breath and the way it flows through you, you can nurture yourself. You can allow yourself to feel whole and connected to the ground.
One of the best things about yoga is that it’s not something you need to feel anxious about doing. For as my own yoga teacher, the renowned British Osteopath John Stirk has said “yoga is more about undoing than doing.” Just a few minutes a day spent feeling the breath and the support of the ground can reap tremendous rewards for those who practice.
ABOUT JOLYON COWAN, MPH
Jolyon studied Public Health at Tulane University and has had extensive experience working in reproductive health programs. Jolyon has studied yoga in the UK, India, and the US since 1989, and he has enjoyed teaching yoga to participants of Dr. Alice Domar’s Mind/Body Program for Infertility since 2001. His gentle teaching style is suitable to all participants enrolled. In addition to his 11 + years experience teaching yoga, Jolyon has also worked and studied with the Yoga Bioymedical Trust, in London, an organization dedicated to both the medical research of and teaching of yoga therapy.